The Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation is teaming up with South Korea to find a suitable location in Cambodia to set up a food testing centre over the next five years, and make inspections of domestic and export products for quality, safety and other standards quicker and easier.

Chhea Layhy, director of the ministry’s General Department of Small and Medium Enterprises and Handicraft, told The Post on December 6 that working groups of both countries would request financial assistance from Seoul for infrastructure and technical support once the associated studies are completed.

He noted that the assessment of potential locations is in accordance with Notice No 36 signed in January, as well as the food management responsibilities delegated by the government to the ministry.

Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Cham Prasidh selected the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation as the hub for linked research, in Meanchey district’s Chak Angre Leu commune of southern Phnom Penh, according to Layhy.

He highlighted that the ministry has done “a lot of work” to ensure the safety and wellbeing of consumers, and that the recognised product standards are met.

With the ministry noting the magnitude of this food management endeavour, Prasidh had asked the local team to coordinate with Seoul to support the research needed to establish the new centre, Layhy remarked.

Keo Mom, CEO of Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd, one of the Kingdom’s largest food processing factories, welcomed the project, which she said would allow companies and government bodies to bring products for food safety and quality inspections that conform to the needs of the international community.

She said some of these international requirements oblige Cambodian food products to be sent abroad for inspection and testing, an expensive and time-consuming ordeal.

She voiced “full support” for a local food testing centre that is up to internationally recognised standards and run in collaboration with the ministry, saying the facility would be able to “control and examine all kinds of foods without the need to send” them abroad.

Mom noted that existing food testing centres do not meet the requirements of some countries.

She hopes that a Korean-invested establishment would be able to handle more products, save time and money, and get exports out faster and in greater volumes.

The ministry’s Layhy noted that the Cambodian food sector has been growing rapidly, even in the face of a range of challenges related to the technologies, standards and materials that would garner products wider recognition and increased consumption, above all those concerning food safety.

“Korea is moving faster than us, and we are thrilled with its support for the sector. Although we have some diagnostic tools, we cannot detect everything. And once we have the centre, it’ll have a hand in further enhancing food analysis, and speeding up exports, among other things,” he said.